Persuasive Essay: The Pros And Cons Of Active Euthanasia

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This means that doctors must never do anything to actively kill a patient; however the doctor does have the ability to use some discretion to ease and shorten suffering (i.e. whether to take extreme measures to prolong life). As has been noted, passive euthanasia is already a generally accepted medical practice and is permissible by Canadian law. A question to ask about passive euthanasia is, “Should we put time and effort in trying to prolong life of someone whose injuries or illnesses are so severe that they will be dead despite doctor’s best efforts?”. A doctor does not continue chemotherapy on a patient dying in the last stages of cancer. There have to be practical considerations of limited resources (i.e. doctors, nurses, medical supplies,…show more content…
Most believe the notion that killing someone is morally worse than letting someone die. We feel stronger disgust towards a murder than someone who does nothing to prevent the murder, even if the person could have potentially prevented the murder. Of course we strongly disapprove of the murderer, take Kitty Genovese’s case into consideration. Genovese was stabbed to death on a New York street where there were 38 bystanders heard her screams and did not intervene. Yes, we judge or even condemn them of their spinelessness, selfishness, and failure to intervene as disgraceful, but we do not charge them with murder and we do not view their actions or lack thereof as morally equal to that of her…show more content…
If we permitted active euthanasia, it is argued that this would undermine our belief in the sanctity of human life. This would begin our slide down a “slippery slope” that would end with us euthanizing anyone seen as a threat or burden to society, like the Nazi regime did in Germany. If we look at this argument logically, it seems difficult to see how permitting voluntary active euthanasia, for compassionate reasons, and respect for individual autonomy, could change attitudes to killings that do not demonstrate these qualities. As Beauchamp argues, if the principles we use to justify active euthanasia are just, then any further action inspired by these principles must also be just. If we qualify our moral exclusions of killing by allowing the exceptions of self-defense and wars, why not accept euthanasia as another exception? Beauchamp replies to this by saying that the difference with euthanasia is that it involves making the judgment that a life can be not worth living. For example, the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced infanticide, while the Eskimos killed their aged parents. And despite their apparent acceptance that their lives were not worth living, they do not appear to have less respect for other lives in general. However, as Christians, we must look at our lives as not our own, but God’s. It is not up to us to decide when we want

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